+1(978)310-4246 credencewriters@gmail.com

For this assignment, you are to read a journal article about a topic related to a regional topic within the context of the class, and you are asked to use articles from the JSTOR database.

The report is to be

5-7 pages

in length. Please be sure to use both a title page and works cited page. (title and works cited pages do not count toward the overall page count of your review) You are also encouraged to follow the MLA or Chicago formats to develop this report.

Please double-space your review.

This review will count as 20% toward your final grade. And in your works cited page, please list the name of the article that you will be summarizing and analyzing. This an example of the type of the format you should follow:

“Argentina in 1983: Reflections on the Language of the Military and George Orwell,” by Alberto Ciria.

Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies,

Vol. 11, No. 21 (1986), pp. 57-69.

In terms of the content of the report, I am looking for two main points of discussion. First, you should devote the first half of the report to a

summary of the main points

that the author is trying to convey to the reader. To help you to address this issue, consider some of these questions: What type of article is this? Is the author presenting an original feature, or is he/she conducting a book review? If this is a book review, what book (or books) is being reviewed? What is the author’s purpose for writing this article? What is the author’s academic or professional background?

As for the second point of discussion, this is where you provide

your opinion or perceptions of the article.

In other words, what did you think about it? What were the strengths or weaknesses of the article? How did the article relate to the class? You are definitely encouraged to write in first person singular (I feel that…, I think..) as you provide your opinions. As a general rule of thumb, your JSTOR review should be about 60% summary and 40% commentary. Thus a 5-page review with about 3 & 1⁄2 pages summary and 1 & 1⁄2 pages commentary is an ideal proportion.

From Pariah State to Global Protagonist: Argentina and the Struggle for International
Human Rights
Author(s): Kathryn Sikkink
Source: Latin American Politics and Society, Vol. 50, No. 1 (Spring, 2008), pp. 1-29
Published by: Distributed by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Center for
Latin American Studies at the University of Miami
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/30130837
Accessed: 03-09-2019 00:48 UTC
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide
range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and
facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at

Terms and Conditions of Use

Cambridge University Press, Center for Latin American Studies at the University of
Miami are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Latin American
Politics and Society
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
From Pariah State to Global Protagonist:
Argentina and the Struggle for
International Human Rights
Kathryn Sikkink
Democratizing states began in the 1980s to hold individuals, including past heads of state, accountable for human rights violations. The
1984 Argentine truth commission report (Nunca Mds) and the 1985
trials of the juntas helped to initiate this trend. Argentina also developed other justice-seeking mechanisms, including the first groups
of mothers and grandmothers of the disappeared, the first human
rights forensic anthropology team, and the first truth trials. Argentines helped to define the very term forced disappearance and to
develop regional and international instruments to end the practice.
Argentina thus illustrates the potential for global human rights protagonism and diffusion of ideas from a country outside the wealthy
North. This article surveys Argentina’s innovations and proposes
possible explanations, drawing on theoretical studies from transitional justice, social movements, and norms cascades in interna-
tional relations.
he year 2005 marked the twentieth anniversary of the Argentine
T trials of the military juntas for human rights abuses during the military regime of 1976-83. The anniversary passed relatively unnoticed
around the world. But it deserves more attention, for the trials marked
the beginning of an important new development, not just in Latin
America but globally. Since the 1980s, democratizing states throughout
the world have begun to hold individuals, including past heads of
state, accountable for human rights violations. This trend is what Lutz
and Sikkink (2001) call the “justice cascade”-a rapid shift toward new
norms and practices that provide more accountability for human rights
violations. Argentine human rights activists were not just passive recipients of this justice cascade but instigators of multiple new human
rights tactics and transitional justice mechanisms, including the trials of
the juntas and the 1984 truth commission. The Argentine case illustrates the potential for important global human rights protagonism in
the creation of new international norms and practices from a country
outside the wealthy global North-something not recognized by most
of the international relations literature-and provides material with
which to begin to theorize the conditions under which such protagonism can occur.
a 2008 University of Miami
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
The truth commission and the trials a
much broader protagonism both by Argenti
by members of various branches of the A
manifestations of this ongoing protagonis
decision to declare the amnesty laws unco
istry officials’ deep involvement in the
Criminal Court in the Hague.
There is a huge literature on human rig
rights movement there, and governmen
repression. It includes many first-person
scholarly literature across a range of disc
ature and on the author’s own primary rese
cle makes two arguments, which have no
in earlier work.2 First, it argues that A
unusually high level of human rights
Second, these innovations have been diff
Latin American region but also in other par
been an “exporter” of human rights tact
might say that this is a sad legacy indeed
massive repression of the military regim
enced repression as great as or greater th
not put forth the same vibrant response fr
ernmental actors.
The aim here is not to glorify or to romanticize the Argentine human
rights movement or the Argentine government, or to imply that human
rights problems have been resolved in Argentina. The reports of human
rights organizations there detail the many ongoing human rights issues
in the country (see, e.g., CELS 2005). Some have suggested that the government’s focus on the crimes of the past allows it to avoid dealing with
current human rights problems (La Naci6n 2006). Even so, when we situate Argentina in a regional and global human rights context, its many
innovations stand out and demand some kind of explanation. This article provides a concise history of Argentine human rights innovations,
situates these innovations in a global context, and makes a preliminary
effort to explain why Argentina played this role. It focuses on the expla-
nation for Argentine innovation, rather than on the processes or mechanisms of diffusion to other countries.
Social movement theorists increasingly understand that social
movements work within both a domestic and an international political
opportunity structure. Political opportunity structures are consistent
dimensions of the political environment that provide incentives and
constraints for people to undertake collective action by affecting their
expectations of success or failure (Tarrow 1998). In Argentina, social
movements not only took advantage of existing opportunity structures
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
but also helped create them at both the domestic and th
Before 1976, a genuine international or regional human rights
regime did not yet exist. But in that year the basic human rights treaties,
the Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Covenant
on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), entered into force,
and the UN Human Rights Committee was set up to receive government
reports and communications on compliance with the covenants. The
regional human rights treaty, the American Convention of Human
Rights, entered into force in 1978. But in both the international and
regional cases, the legal and institutional framework was still quite inert.
It existed as a possibility, but its potential was not yet actualized or set
in motion. Activists from countries like Argentina and Chile, with the
support of state and NGO allies, mainly from Europe and the United
States, were crucial in using the potential in these institutions and thus
transforming them from potential into actual mechanisms of human
rights change.
The concise history of Argentine human rights innovations will be
explored in three time periods or phases: social movement innovations
during the military dictatorship, 1976-83; the key governmental initiatives taken during the Rail Alfonsin administration, and especially the
truth commission and the trials of the juntas (1983-89); and societal and
governmental innovations during the subsequent democratic period
(1990-2006). It is beyond the scope of this article, however, to cover the
entire realm of “memory work,” including museums, oral history
archives, art, literature, and so on, or the question of reparations, in
which Argentines have also displayed immense protagonism (Jelin 2003;
Guembe 2006; Acufia 2006).
Phase 1: The Military Regime, 1976-1983
The military coup that brought General Jorge Videla to power in 1976
was preceded by an upsurge in activities by right-wing death squads
and left-wing guerrilla movements (Novaro and Palermo 2003). Once in
power, the military government initiated a program of brutal repression
of the opposition, including mass kidnappings, imprisonment without
charges, torture, and murder. The Argentine truth commission, called
the National Commission on Disappearances (hereafter CONADEP),
documented almost nine thousand deaths and disappearances in
Argentina during the period 1975-83 (CONADEP 1984). Human rights
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
organizations, moreover, have consistently
great bulk of these murders took place duri
in 1976 and 1977. Most of the “disappeared”
and their bodies buried in unmarked ma
thrown into the sea (CONADEP, 1984).
This massive and systematic use of dis
repressive “innovation” by the Argentine ar
had practiced “disappearances,” but the Arg
well-organized system to “disappear” very
Other repressive practices of the Argentine
frighteningly novel, like that of taking babies
falsifying their identities, and placing the
friendly to the regime. Argentine social mo
to this repression and eventually met these rep
tical innovations of their own.
The first group of mothers of disappeared people was formed in
Argentina in 1977. Chilean and Argentine human rights organizations
had already created “family groups” (familiares), set up by families of
human rights victims, but Argentina also developed the distinctive
groups of mothers and, later, grandmothers (Madres de la Plaza de Mayo
and Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo). These human rights movements
focused particularly on the biological family (especially relations
between mother and child). The Argentine military government used the
language of the traditional family as one of its central metaphors. The
nuclear family was also the key image of the discourse and practices of
the Argentine human rights movement (Jelin 2004). Perhaps for these
reasons, Argentine human rights organizations were the innovators of
this particular form of organizing. Women played a central role in the
human rights movement in Argentina (Navarro 1989). Alvarez (1990)
argues that the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo was the most visible
women’s group in Argentina during the Argentine transition process.
Over time, this maternal model of human rights activism was heralded globally and diffused broadly, both via human rights networks
and, in particular, via some feminist networks, especially in Europe.
Since 1977, groups of mothers of the disappeared have formed in more
than a dozen other countries, and many of these groups recognize the
Madres de la Plaza de Mayo as a key inspiration.3 The Madres and Abuelas also helped to found a regional association, the Latin American Fed-
eration of Families of the Disappeared (FEDEFAM), which became a
model for a similar Asian association, the Asian Federation Against Disappearances.
Along with the groups of mothers and grandmothers, a very bro
and diverse set of human rights groups developed in Argentina, incl
ing groups such as the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, th
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), the Ecumeni
for Human Rights, and Servicio Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ) (
Brysk 1994). These groups had different memberships,
tactics, styles of work, and relations with other politic
groups in Argentina. Although they often collaborated,
agreed about many aspects of human rights work in Arg
fore, although this article often refers in general to human
in Argentina, it is important to underscore the multiplicity
of the human rights movement there.
These groups sought to name and identify the very p
forced disappearances. The word disappeared used in th
exist at that time in the human rights vocabulary. Human
in Argentina, especially Emilio Mignone, one of the foun
were first responsible for naming, identifying, and denounc
tematic practice of forced disappearance (desaparicion f
what they called detenidos-desaparecidos (the detained-d
These Argentine groups would later play a crucial role in
the declarations against forced disappearances and later
and international conventions on the issue (Mignone 1991
cion forzada como crimen 1988).
Argentine human rights activists were especially inv
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). T
duced its first major country report based on a visit to Arg
Argentine human rights activists worked closely with the IA
vide testimony for this pathbreaking report. Likewise, when
tine government, with the support of the then-Soviet U
demands for country-specific actions within the UN Co
Human Rights, Argentine activists and their allies helped
Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappear
the first such thematic procedural mechanism. Such a me
later become a staple of UN human rights activity (Gues
tially, these groups took a situation in which both dome
national institutions were closed to them and converted it into a situa-
tion in which at least some international and regional political
opportunities were more open to their demands.
Phase 2: The Alfonsin Government (1983-1989)
After the elected government of Raul Alfonsin came to office in 1983, it
took a series of key steps to establish transitional justice. The terms
truth commission or transitional justice, which we use so frequently
today, were not yet part of the ordinary lexicon. Argentine groups and
leaders were essentially improvising new tactics and institutional forms
that later would be named truth commissions or processes of transi-
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
tional justice. Today, large NGOs like the Intern
sitional Justice, set up in 2001, have websites,
software to share with transitional governmen
Although volumes of academic writing now d
and failures of different transitional justice tacti
cussion of the category “truth commission” di
But in 1983, when Argentina adopted its co
ances, none of this existed.
The first recommendation of trials for those
rights violations in Argentina appeared in
Argentina of the Inter-American Commission
lished in 1980 (IACHR 1980). Human rights or
call for trials. Before the transition in 1983, th
punishment for all those guilty of human rights
tigo a todos los culpables) became both a sloga
demand of the human rights movement in A
groups agreed about the demand for justice, i
what justice and punishment meant or should
Whatever the human rights movement mea
ishment, the Alfonsin government had more
aspirations. During his electoral campaign, Al
himself to seek justice for human rights viola
ance that commitment with the desire to integra
the democratic polity and prevent future militar
justice mechanisms that eventually emerged d
ernment were the result of interactions of the h
the government, and the political opposition,
improvisation in this uncharted realm. Accordi
Bombal, the treatment of human rights violati
this period “was a process with a life of its ow
of which escaped the calculations and desire
directly involved” (1995, 163, translation by au
As the first step, in 1983, the Alfonsin gove
of legislation to Congress calling for the repeal
the military government had passed before th
ing the trial of the members of the first three m
Smulovitz 1997). Thus, immediately, the Arge
aged to overcome a hurdle that had stymied tr
countries, the constraint to respect the amnest
itary regimes.
Also in 1983, by executive decree, Alfonsin
commission, CONADEP. The CONADEP report
in 1984, was the first published truth commiss
since become a slogan and a symbol of the tr
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
ment. In her study of truth commissions, Hayner (2001
commissions that preceded the Argentine commission:
and Bolivia (1982). In practice, however, neither of the
issued a published final report, and neither had a publ
approaching that of the CONADEP report. In this sens
sider the Argentine Nunca Mds report as the one that
global trend in truth commissions, as Hayner (1994) rec
The Argentine human rights movement would have
bicameral parliamentary commission with the power to
mony, but eventually most members of the human rights m
laborated with CONADEP, providing voluminous docume
zel 2006).
The Alfonsin government had originally planned to give the armed
forces sole jurisdiction to prosecute military personnel for human rights
violations and then to pardon those sentenced before the end of the
administration. But when the government presented its military reform
bill to Congress, the opposition added various provisions that hampered
the government’s ability to limit the scope of trials, including a provision for the mandatory appeal of these human rights cases to a civilian
appeals court (Aculia and Smulovitz 1997). When the armed forces
failed to make even a minimum good faith attempt at prosecution, the
trials were therefore transferred to a civilian court. The trial of the nine
commanders-in-chief who had been members of the three military
juntas that ruled Argentina during the dictatorship was as pathbreaking
as the truth commission had been. It lasted almost an entire year in
1985, was attended by large numbers of the public and the press, and
produced a vast historical record.6
No previous trials of the leaders of authoritarian regimes for human
rights violations during their governments had ever been held in Latin
America. The Bolivian Congress initiated accountability trials against
high-ranking members of the military government of General Luis
Garcia Meza in 1984, but the trials occurred after those in Argentina
(Mayorga 1997). Globally, if we focus on countries that have held their
own leaders responsible for past human rights violations, the only
precedents to the Argentine trials of the juntas were some of the successor trials following World War II and the trials of the colonels in 1974
in Greece. In this sense, just as the Argentine truth commission initiated
the cascade of truth commissions, the Argentine trials of the juntas also
initiated the modern cascade of transitional justice trials.
The significance of Argentina in the global justice cascade is illus-
trated with data from a new dataset on global trends in transitional justice.7 The data demonstrate a rapid shift toward new global norms and
practices providing more accountability for human rights violations.
Most interesting is that Latin American countries led this shift; and
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
25 Inaugurated
25 . New Truth Commissions
20 Cumulative Truth
15– Commissions Worldwide
1970s 1980s 1990s 2000-
Figure 1. Number of Truth Commissions
among the Latin American states leading this trend, none was mor
important than Argentina.
As figure 1 illustrates, the number of truth commissions worldwide
grew following the inauguration of Argentina’s truth commission in 198
By mid-2004 a cumulative number of 36 truth commissions had be
established worldwide.8 Since 2004, additional truth commissions hav
been proposed or developed, so the trend seems likely to continue.
Truth commissions are more prevalent in Africa and the Americ
than in other regions, making up 36 percent and 38 percent of the total,
respectively. While the explanations for this regional concentration a
unclear, it appears that the diffusion of ideas and practices is more fluid
within regions than between regions. The Argentine truth commissio
was especially influential in the Americas, and the South African tru
commission appears to have had the same catalyst effect in Africa.
The dataset on transitional justice mechanisms also confirms th
prominent role that Argentine trials played in the justice cascade. T
dataset includes, in addition to truth commissions, a summary of domestic, foreign, and international trials for individual criminal responsibilit
for past human rights violations in countries that have experienced
transition to democracy. Domestic trials are those conducted in a sing
country for human rights abuses committed in that country. Foreign or
transnational trials are those conducted in a single country for hum
rights abuses committed in another country. International trials involve
individual criminal responsibility for human rights violations, such as th
international ad hoc trials for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
The data reveal an unprecedented spike in state efforts to addres
past human rights abuses, which has occurred both domestically an
internationally since the mid-1980s. In figure 2, we see that the Arge
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Debida (Full Stop and Due Obedience), in 1
a formative moment for the transitional jus
analysts and politicians concluded that hu
viable; they would provoke coups and und
analysis misinterpreted the actual sequenc
Argentina, the nine junta members were
in 1985. The two most important leaders of t
Videla and Admiral Emilio Massera, were
The remaining three were sentenced to b
prison (El Diario delJuicio 1985). The coup
more far-reaching trials against junior offic
to read the Argentine case as an example tha
are not possible is to disregard the success
juntas and the degree to which the Argen
subordinated to civilian control.
In 1990, the government of Carlos Menem pardoned the convicted
military officers, including Videla and Massera. Some observers again
interpreted this pardon as an indication that the trials had been futile.
But the pardon did not reverse the trials or the sentences. Acufia and
Smulovitz argue that despite the concessions granted by Alfonsin and
Menem, the “high costs and high risks suffered by the armed forces as
a result of the investigations and judicial convictions for human rights
violations are central reasons for the military’s present subordination to
constitutional power” (1997, 94).
In addition to the truth commission and the trials of the juntas, the
Alfonsin government made other institutional innovations in the realm
of human rights. For example, it established a permanent Sub-secretariat
of Human Rights in the Ministry of Interior to supervise human rights
policy and to manage the CONADEP files. While some countries in
Europe had long had all-purpose government ombudsmen, the Argentine Sub-secretariat for Human Rights was one of the early examples of
human rights machinery that would become increasingly common in
the Americas and around the world.10
While the Alfonsin government was producing major innovations in
transitional justice, the Argentine human rights movement continued to
develop new tactics. The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo proved to
be especially innovative in their use of the latest scientific techniques to
aid their search for their grandchildren (Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo
2001). The Grandmothers worked in cooperation with the newly democratic Argentine state agencies to develop, for example, a National
Genetic Data Bank with both grand paternity blood banks and DNA
banks, so that the grandparents of disappeared children could deposit
blood and DNA samples. Even if one or both grandparents died, these
samples could be used later to identify their grandchildren.
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
As part of the effort to provide evidence for the trial
forensic experts traveled to Argentina and led a proje
graves of the disappeared. Although some human right
refused to cooperate, a group of young Argentine stud
in the exhumations and eventually, with the help of th
ciation for the Advancement of Science and a leadi
forensic expert, Dr. Clyde Snow, started the first human
organization in the world, the Equipo Argentino d
Forense (EAAF) (Cohen Salama 1992).
Like other groups, the EAAF did not work independently but collaborated with the Argentine state to produce its outcomes. The actual
exhumations were ordered by judges investigating the disappearances,
and were then carried out by the EAAF. Together with Dr. Snow, the
EAAF is the group that pioneered the application of forensic sciences to
the documentation of human rights violations. It has been instrumental
in conducting work in many other countries and training similar experts
and teams. Since 1986, the EAAF has worked in nearly 30 countries
throughout the world (EAAF 2007). In 2003, the EAAF organized the first
meeting of 17 Latin American forensic anthropologists from 7 countries,
which resulted in the creation of the Latin American Forensic Anthro-
pology Association (ALAF).
Phase 3: 1989-Present
Phase 2 ended with the Full Stop and Due Obedience laws and with
Menem’s presidential pardons of the junta members. In many other
countries, these kinds of setbacks silenced human rights activist
demands for accountability. But Argentine human rights activists
responded with more innovations. It was as if the very experience of
having their aims opposed and blocked led Argentine groups to renew
their strength to continue their struggle (Jelin and Kaufman 2000).
Activists’ first response was to form some new domestic human
rights groups with new tactics. The now-grown children of the disappeared formed their own human rights organization, HIJOS. Like the
original Mothers and Grandmothers groups, HIJOS groups also developed elsewhere in the region, including Chile and Guatemala. HIJOS
also developed innovative tactics, the most novel of which were its
escraches, or public events outside the homes of known repressors,
denouncing their participation in human rights violations.
Second, existing human rights groups were skilled at turning to
regional and foreign institutions when progress on accountability was
blocked in Argentina. So, for example, in 1992, in response to a case
brought forward by Argentine human rights organizations, the IACHR
concluded that the Argentine Full Stop and Due Obedience laws and the
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
pardons issued by President Menem for c
dictatorship were incompatible with the
Human Rights. The Inter-American Court
firmed this position when it declared, in th
Peruvian amnesty laws were invalid and i
can Convention (Inter-American Court o
decision created a precedent that suggest
example, from Argentina or from Urugua
American Court, the court would also be
amnesty laws invalid and incompatible wi
Domestically, human rights organizations
legal challenges. These included efforts by
mothers of the Plaza de Mayo to hold mil
the kidnapping and identity change of th
who, in many cases, had been given for a
tary regime. The Grandmothers’ lawyers a
of kidnapping of minors and changing th
ered in the amnesty laws, they were not
for these crimes. This legal strategy bec
domestic groups used to open a breach in
strategy began to succeed by the mid-199
found guilty were lower-level military offic
(Rios 2002).
In 1998, federal judges in Argentina ordered preventive detention
for both ex-president Videla and Admiral Massera, the two most powerful leaders in Argentina during the most intense period of repression,
for the crimes of kidnapping babies and falsifying public documents.
Thus, when Chilean ex-president General Augusto Pinochet was
detained in London three months later, the Argentine courts had already
done the equivalent. Although the Argentine courts used domestic political institutions, the international context was also important. The con-
text and timing of both Videla’s and Massera’s arrests suggests that
Argentine judges may have been influenced by foreign trials in France
and Spain (Abregu 1999). To fend off political pressures to extradite
many officers, some Argentine judges apparently decided to place a few
high-profile but now politically marginalized officers like Videla and
Massera under preventive detention.
Another key legal innovation in Argentina was the concept and practice of “truth trials.” After the amnesty law blocked trials for most past
human rights violations, the relatives of victims nevertheless encouraged
judges to develop trials to learn the truth about the fate and whereabouts
of the disappeared. In 1995, family members associated with CELS presented the first petition arguing that although the amnesty laws had
blocked criminal proceedings, family members still had the “right to
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
truth” and could pursue that right through judicial investig
a federal court of appeals allowed the petition, it began
judicial process that would come to be called the truth t
Argentine courts solicited and analyzed information an
(mainly from members of the armed forces) to find out th
the disappeared (Filippini 2005). Since 1998, truth trials h
way not only in Buenos Aires but also in various other A
The concept of the truth trial is particularly interest
brings together elements from both truth commissions and
tice. It also illustrates yet another example of Argentin
developing new human rights tactics and mechanisms
Some Argentines consider the concept and practice of a ”
the Argentine human rights movement’s most important co
the world, by which they mean not just the truth trials
combined impact of the truth commission, the truth trials
agogic function of criminal human rights trials. Accord
Despouy, who has held important human rights positio
Argentine governments and in the United Nations, “The
was the main success of the Argentine human rights org
we have exported to the world” (Pdgina 12 2006).
Perhaps the most challenging of the legal battles wa
by CELS to have the amnesty laws declared unconst
again, using the case of a kidnapped child of the di
lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that the amnesty laws pu
judicial system in the untenable position of being able
criminally responsible for kidnapping a child and falsel
identity (more minor crimes) but not for the more serious
of murder and disappearance of the parents, which later ga
crime of kidnapping. Additionally, they argued that th
were a violation of international and regional human rig
which Argentina was a party and which were directly in
Argentine law.
A judge of the first instance found the arguments compelling, and
wrote a judgment that was a lengthy treatise on the significance of
international human rights law in Argentine criminal law (Cavallo 2001).
Argentina offered a propitious environment for this kind of decision
because the 1994 Constitution gave international human rights treaties
constitutional status, and because the courts had earlier found that cus-
tomary international law could be applied by domestic courts. CELS
solicited international groups to write amicus curiae (friend of the court)
briefs for their cases and succeeded in establishing, for the first time in
the Argentine judicial system, the practice of using foreign amicus briefs.
The appeals courts supported the decision, but the actions of the executive and legislature made the legal issues in the case even more com-
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
plex. In August 2003, the Argentine Congres
Nestor Kirchner administration, passed a law
laws (Obediencia Debida and Punto Final) null and void.
In June 2005, the Argentine Supreme Court, in a 7-1 vote, declared
the amnesty laws unconstitutional. The court cited the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights jurisprudence in the Barrios Altos case, which
limited the ability of member-state legislation to enact amnesty laws for
crimes against humanity. The Supreme Court also decided that the crime
of disappearance was a crime against humanity for which no statutes of
limitations applied. The effect of the court’s decision was to permit the
reopening of hundreds of human rights cases that had been closed for
the past 15 years.
The court’s decision is yet another example of legal innovation in
Argentina, although it is too early to tell whether it will have influence
in other countries in the region where amnesty laws are under debate.
Nevertheless, a campaign is currently under way in Uruguay to have the
amnesty law there declared either null or unconstitutional, influenced
by the Argentine example (Paysse 2006).
The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo continued to promote
innovative human rights tactics in their efforts to locate the grandchildren. During the international process of drafting the Convention on the
Rights of the Child in the late 1980s, the Grandmothers persuaded the
Argentine Foreign Ministry to press for provisions in the convention on
the “right to identity.” The final convention includes these provisions as
articles 7 and 8; they are informally called the “Argentine articles.”
Because the Argentine Constitution incorporates international law
directly into domestic law, once Argentina had ratified the convention,
these articles provided the Grandmothers with the legal bases to argue
that children had a right to identity, and thus to permit judges to order
blood tests even when opposed by the adoptive parents, to establish
whether or not the children were the sons and daughters of the disappeared (Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo 2001; Rios 2002). In this case, the
Grandmothers helped to change international opportunity structure by
changing the wording of a treaty; this, in turn, changed their domestic
opportunity structure and made it easier to get convictions.
While these moves to pursue accountability for past human rights
violations were taking place in Argentina, Argentine government diplomats began to play a major role in the United Nations human rights
institutions. Following earlier work by the Argentine human rights
activists that helped to define the crime of forced disappearances and to
write a regional convention against disappearances, the Argentine government, together with that of France, has been a major sponsor of the
International Convention on the Forced Disappearance of Persons, now
awaiting approval in the UN General Assembly.
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Argentine diplomats were also active in helping design
the International Criminal Court to pursue international
for human rights violations (Fernandez 2002). Together
Sweden, Norway, and Holland, Argentina was one of th
of main protagonists behind the creation of the ICC, and it
state that was not a wealthy, developed state to play su
role. In particular, an Argentine diplomat, Silvia Fernandez,
in all the formal and informal preparatory meetings precedi
Conference to draft the ICC Statute in July 1998. One of th
cial secret meeting in Bonn among four or five persons,
German government, to develop a common position for the likeminded countries. At the Rome Conference itself, Fernandez served as
vice president of the Plenary Committee and presided over the key
Working Group on Criminal Process. For almost eight years, Fernindez
worked almost full-time on the ICC, with the full support of three different Argentine democratic governments. Not only people from the
Foreign Ministry but also representatives from the Ministries of Justice
and Defense, including representatives from the armed forces, were
involved in the negotiation process (Fern.ndez 2002). While members
of the Argentine government were involved in the negotiations for the
Rome Statute, Argentine human rights NGOs, such as CELS, were present at the Rome meeting to lobby in favor of a strong ICC.
The key mechanisms through which the Argentine human rights
innovations were diffused were publications, the media, and the actual
movement of activists to new positions in the world’s human rights
organizations. The Argentine human rights organizations, the truth commission, and the trials of the juntas trained a generation of activists and
human rights professionals. Many of them have moved from Argentina
to serve in important positions in international human rights groups.
Some were later tapped for leadership roles; most famously, Luis
Moreno Ocampo, formerly assistant prosecutor in the Argentine trials of
the military juntas, is now the prosecutor of the ICC, one of the most
important jobs in the international human rights world today. Juan
Mendez, a former labor lawyer in Argentina and a political prisoner
during the dictatorship, has single-handedly occupied more important
positions in international human rights nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations than almost any other major human rights
activist. M6ndez moved seamlessly from top positions in NGOs like
Human Rights Watch and the International Center for Transitional Justice to positions in the interamerican system, in academic institutions,
and in the United Nations. From 2004 to 2007, he served as the first Spe-
cial Adviser on Genocide to the UN Secretary General.
Patricia Valdez, an Argentine, was the director of the most important human rights organization in Peru, the Coordinadora de Derechos
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Humanos, and later executive secretary of th
El Salvador. Victor Abramovich, former directo
a member of the Inter-American Commission
Pinto served as the UN Human Rights Comm
on Guatemala in the 1990s, and Morris Tidbal
of the Argentine forensic anthropology team
forensic teams around the world and worked
in London. The Argentine human rights act
Argentina travel extensively and have share
their counterparts throughout the world.
The interesting question in this context is why activists and government
officials in Argentina have made such important innovations in the world
of human rights. This is a form of what Joseph Nye has called “soft
power,” based on the attractiveness and legitimacy of a country’s ideas
and policies (Nye 2004). Argentina has had this soft power on human
rights issues both during governments like that of Alfonsin, which were
committed to human rights, and during other governments less commit-
ted to the issues. Some of these governments were profoundly troubled
by military uprisings; all faced economic problems and crises; and most
perceived a lack of legitimacy as an international actor. But in this area
of human rights, although most Argentines are not aware of it, Argentina
has been a global leader. How can we begin to try to explain this?
The theoretical puzzle here is why Argentina has been a source of
human rights tactical and institutional innovations in the world, not why
or how these innovations have diffused globally. The information presented here about the timing of global practices and global diffusion
illustrates that the innovations actually started in Argentina (see figure
2). Studies of diffusion by international relations scholars stress the
explanations for why governments adopt policies in response to what
other countries are doing (Simmons et al. 2006). Diffusion studies do
not, however, study the original sources of policy innovation and ask
why those countries produced innovations that were later diffused.
There is an underlying assumption in this literature that such diffusion is more likely to flow from wealthier and more powerful countries
to less powerful countries. Two of the main explanations for diffusion
are coercion and competition, with the understanding that more powerful countries are more able to impose their practices on others (Simmons et al. 2006). A related literature is the sociological institutionalist
literature on world culture and the spread of global norms (Finnemore
1996). This literature argues that world culture reconfigures state policies, especially the policies of developing states. These scholars often
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
overlook the reality that global norms and world culture
from somewhere, and they fail to identify how local agen
developing world, can influence global normative structu
and Sikkink 2001). Likewise, the literature on transition
tended to argue that the trend toward more human rights t
fueled by the liberal developed states (Bass 2000).
The literature on transnational advocacy networks
groups in the global South often initiate “boomeran
Sikkink 1998) or “spirals” (Risse et al. 1999) to gain inter
to pressure their governments for change. The spiral mo
fies that far-reaching human rights change will be sustai
regime change, as was the case in Argentina. These liter
to expect agency from groups in developing countries;
anticipate that a country like Argentina could move in a r
time from being the principal target of the boomerang or s
a global protagonist exporting human rights norms and p
Arguments about norms cascades suggest that such c
in particular domestic settings, especially those with strong
preneurs and social movements (Finnemore and Sikkink
tine activists and government officials were indeed norm
in the area of human rights. But the norms cascade liter
provide more detailed explanations about why some soc
in some countries seem more innovative or entrepreneu
some countries have served as more successful platforms
norms cascades. We need to supplement these literature
tional insights from the literature on transitional justice and
ment theory to understand why Argentina was so innova
of human rights and why Argentine innovations later d
the globe. The following sections draw briefly on each o
tures to propose explanations, and also to propose how th
must be expanded to help explain this case.
Characteristics of Repression and Transition
Some aspects of the political context in Argentina made
Argentines to innovate in the area of human rights and t
tice, especially the level and nature of repression and the
sition to democracy. Some social movement theorists dis
as one aspect of a political opportunity structure (McAda
ical opportunity structures have more facets than just that o
but repression might be seen as the most basic way that p
tunities are blocked or closed.
The Argentine case was somewhat unique in that the repression
was very extreme, but not so extreme as to eliminate all possibilities for
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
human rights activism. The military regime
people than did the regimes in Chile, Brazi
however, had far greater repression than Ar
try in the region, repression so severe that i
human rights movement (Ropp and Sikkink
Not just the level of repression but also th
be significant. Argentine security forces were
practice of disappearance on such a large sc
the victims were under 35 years old. They
family members mourning the loss of their ch
or imprisonment, the phenomenon of disap
ularly difficult psychological response on th
Jelin (1995) refers to disappearances as “unc
situation, in which family members or friends
them although they may still be alive, has a
loss.” Pauline Boss (1999) argues that ambig
enced by family members of military personn
most stressful loss that people can face; it can
to move on with their lives. Many family mem
Argentina continued to believe that their child
ing, so that any human rights activism they
difference between life and death for their ch
may have spurred the movement in Argentina
families confronted a process of grief over a
The nature of the democratic transition itself also influenced
whether or not activists could demand more accountability. Because the
Argentine military regime collapsed after its defeat in the Malvinas/Falk-
lands war, the armed forces could not negotiate the conditions of their
exit from power. The transitions literature has argued that trials are less
likely in negotiated or “pacted” transitions, in which the military negotiates the transition and ensures significant protections and guarantees
from prosecution for human rights violations, and more possible in
“society-led” transitions or “ruptured transitions,” in which the military
is forced to exit from power without negotiating specific protections
(Stepan 1986; Mayorga 1997).
Argentina is an example of a ruptured transition: it followed the collapse of the military government in the wake of the failure in the Malv-
inas war. Chile, Uruguay, and South Africa are classic “pacted” transitions. These differences in transitions help explain why it was more
possible for Argentina to hold trials of the juntas almost immediately fol-
lowing the transition, and why it was more difficult to hold such trials
elsewhere. Two other countries that held early human rights trials,
Greece and Bolivia, also experienced ruptured rather than negotiated
transitions (Mayorga 1997).
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Political Opportunities and Resource Mobilization
The level of repression and the type of transition only take us partway
to explaining the very high level of Argentine human rights innovation.
The Argentine case also illustrates a point frequently made by social
movement theorists: that political opportunities do not just exist in the
abstract but need to be perceived and constructed by activists (Della
Porta and Tarrow 2005). Argentine political actors faced a political
opportunity structure more conducive to their human rights demands
after the transition to democracy, and yet these groups also were more
likely to perceive and create political opportunities than some of their
counterparts in other countries. One reason that Argentine groups were
more able to create political opportunities is that they had organizational, financial, social, and cultural resources to draw on that were not
available to activists in all countries that suffered extreme human rights
violations. This argument is consistent with resource mobilization theories of social movements (see, e.g., McCarthy and Zald 1977).
The Argentine human rights movement created a strong organizational framework, or movement structure, designed for mobilization.
The Argentine human rights movement comprised a relatively large
number of diverse groups with different constituencies, membership,
and strategies (Brysk 1994; Crenzel 2006). The very breadth of the
movement, the multiplicity of its strategies, and the links that some sec-
tors had to the posttransitional state provided an organizational framework for including human rights concerns on the agenda of the Alfonsin government and some later governments as well. Alfonsin had been
a member of one of the key human rights organizations, the Permanent
Assembly for Human Rights, during the dictatorship. Human rights
groups participated actively in the campaign events of various parties;
and a leader of the human rights movement and father of a disappeared
person, Augusto Conte, was elected as a member of Congress, which
allowed him to bring human rights issues directly to the parliamentary
agenda (Crenzel 2006).
As a result of some of these organizational factors, human rights
demands and discourses became a much more prominent part of the
Argentine transition than they did in many other countries in Latin
America. The relationship between the human rights movement and different democratic Argentine governments varied significantly, but in
general, the Argentine human rights movement carried out effective
advocacy and managed to get the state to respond to many of its
Although often taken for granted by social movement theorists who
work mainly on social movements in relatively well developed countries, some basic economic and social attributes in Argentina provided
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
advantages in creating a strong social mov
relatively high level of development, edu
provided resources to social movement act
their ability to innovate. At the time of the
very high levels of education and urb
CONADEP, more than two-thirds of the
dents, white collar employees, professiona
to be drawn from the middle class. Many
tended to be educated and urban dwellers
have the financial and human resources to
disappearances. This is a contrast to other
rights violations in the Americas, such as
were most often rural indigenous people w
of resources.
Argentine human rights activists made huge financial sacrifices to
pursue their campaigns, but nevertheless were able to get the support
to dedicate themselves, part-time at least, to the pursuit of justice. Like-
wise, since 1990, when the Argentine state implemented its policy of
reparations to victims of repression, victims and their families have had
access to additional financial resources that in many cases provided support for their human rights work. The Argentine state has given out
approximately three billion pesos (or about one billion dollars at current exchange rates) in its reparations policy (Guembe 2006) to more
than seven thousand families of the disappeared or dead. Through its
policy of reparations, the state also provided additional resources for
Argentine human rights activists to pursue their strategies of accountability, and it did so at a time when the policy of reparation represented
a significant fiscal burden to a state already suffering macroeconomic
weakness (Acufia 2006).
A second organizational framework that may have influenced transi-
tional justice strategies was Argentina’s relatively high level of judicialization. Judicialization certainly means more than the number of lawyers,
yet this may be one influential factor. One author, using UNESCO data
for numbers of students receiving law degrees and ranking countries by
the number of law providers in relation to the population, found that
Argentina was the fourth-ranked country in the world in terms of the
number of lawyers in 1987 (August 1992). Not only was the number of
lawyers high, but there was also a strong tradition of activist labor
lawyers accustomed to working on labor rights issues. Some of the
Argentine lawyers who later distinguished themselves in the area of
human rights law, like Juan Mdndez, came out of this labor law tradition.
In this sense, existing social networks of activist labor lawyers contributed to the rise of human rights cause lawyering in Argentina. The
large number of lawyers provided yet another resource to family mem-
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
bers of victims who wished to pursue accountability
repression took place in urban areas, especially in th
and in the Province of Buenos Aires, areas relativel
lawyers, which also facilitated a legal response to disappearances
(CONADEP 1984).
The trials of the juntas encouraged “the discovery of law,” as ordinary citizens perceived a system of law as more viable and legitimate if
law could be used to hold the most powerful former leaders of their
country accountable for past human rights violations (Smulovitz 2002).
Since 1985, the number of cases submitted to the Supreme Court and to
federal and state courts has increased significantly. This judicialization
process rests “not only on institutional conditions that enable its occurrence, but also on the development of skills, cognitive resources, and
organizational capacities that allowed citizens and associations to take
advantage of institutional and political opportunities” (Smulovitz 2005,
176). Likewise, the structure of the judicial system may have provided
more leeway for judicial innovation. Since the Argentine judicial system
permits lateral entry into the judiciary, judges are somewhat more
autonomous than, for example, their Chilean colleagues, where no lateral entry existed and promotion was controlled completely by the
Supreme Court (Hilbink 2007).
Historical and Cultural Factors
The level of repression, the nature of the transition, and the pol
opportunities and resources that activists had available are usefu
help understand Argentine innovation in the area of human right
we still may need to examine some historical and cultural factors
spurred Argentine human rights activists to innovations in trans
Argentina is, for example, one of a small handful of countries in the
world with more than ten psychiatrists per one hundred thousand population (WHO 2001). Argentine psychiatrists who worked with victims
and family members of victims were helping clients actively engaged in
political action to seek justice. During and particularly after the repression, teams of psychiatrists and psychologists, some of them associated
with particular human rights organizations, formed to help treat torture
victims.12 Although not all these teams had identical approaches, in the
global treatment movement for victims of repression, a “Latin American
approach” emerged that stressed the process of psychological healing in
the context of ongoing activism against repression and impunity.
According to this approach, the belief was that the process of healing
and closure would be helped by involvement in movements for justice
and accountability (Edelman et al. 2005). Many in the human rights
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
movement in Argentina embraced this co
and of the healing of the body politic th
against impunity.
Finally, there is the murky issue of politic
ical culture has had a long tradition of int
movements. In many parts of the world,
ered a political virtue. But in Argentina,
gence is such that various political partie
to the Radical Party (Unidn Civica Radica
their party names (e.g. Uni6n Civica Radi
Partido Intransigente, PI).
Intransigence in the face of governm
helped the human rights sector innovate.
to take “no” for an answer or to reconcile themselves to the inevitabil-
ity of amnesties, and thus found novel ways around the roadblocks put
up in their way. For example, Graciela Fernandez Mejide described the
reaction of Argentine human rights activists to the sentence in the trial
of the juntas. Instead of being pleased with the life sentences for some
of the accused, they were disappointed by the leniency of some of the
other sentences. She and some other Argentine human rights activists
were at a meeting of human rights groups from the Southern Cone
being held in Chile when they received the news.
We got very angry and felt very bad that night. The next day when
we entered the conference, various colleagues greeted us with
applause. We said, “Why do you applaud? Are you drunk?” They
told us: “You don’t know how to take advantage of what you have.
You aren’t satisfied with anything, that’s how Argentines are.” (Fer-
nindez Meijide 1989, author’s translation)
Likewise, the notion of being combativo has a long pedigree in
Argentine political life, especially in relation to particular sectors of the
labor movement (e.g. the Plenario Nacional de Sindicatos Combativos)
(James 1988). As compared to Uruguay, where a more consensus-based
political culture may serve democratic negotiation but has not fueled
strong human rights movements, in Argentina a more intransigent and
combative political culture thus could possibly have sustained the stubborn search for solutions to blockages on the road to accountability.
The human rights innovations are so extensive that Argentine so
movement activists and members of the Argentine government ma
considered among the most important protagonists in the area of dome
tic human rights activism. Often, they were not emulating tactics they
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
covered elsewhere but were developing new tactics. On
occasions, they have then exported or diffused their institut
tical innovations. Argentina, which never was a passive recip
national human rights action, has gone on to become an impo
national protagonist in the human rights realm, involv
modifying the international structure of political opportuni
rights activism. This dynamism of the Argentine human rig
even more interesting and important in the context of ac
monic opposition to the expansion of international huma
because it suggests that the advancement of human righ
may proceed even in the face of opposition from the Uni
In most of these endeavors, Argentine groups have not w
lation. There is extensive documentation of the transnatio
the Argentine human rights movement (Keck and Sikkin
1994). But to focus mainly on the transnational dimension of
gles may sometimes blur the question of where the initia
many occasions, the impetus for such networking came
Argentina. Argentine groups sought out internationa
brought them into their human rights work at home. Both
model (Keck and Sikkink 1998) and the spiral model (Ris
stress that transnational advocacy campaigns were often
domestic groups reached out to international allies. These
necessarily anticipate, however, that a pariah state could b
human rights protagonist in the course of a couple of dec
This article has highlighted sources for a more de
change in the international system. Initially, human rights a
works help save lives and get people released from jail. B
these advocacy networks can be part of a much more pr
of regime change and identity change, in which a form
human rights can become a leader in promoting human r
more generally. Norms cascades do not begin only in the
but can also be initiated by innovative countries in the g
the area of transitional justice, for example, South Africa’s t
onciliation commission has become an international mod
other countries have emulated. Argentina has been an in
even greater number of transitional justice mechanisms.
More than 20 years have now passed since Argentina’s
democracy and the trials of the juntas. During this time,
been more than just another case in the literature on transit
Argentina helped innovate the two main accountability m
are the focus of much of the debate on transitional justi
missions and high-level human rights trials. Though the
of diffusion from Argentina to other countries has not alwa
the Argentine example was very influential in other cou
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
ences of transitional justice. The Argentine m
ability mechanisms like truth commissions a
ally exclusive options, but can be benefic
Argentina innovated a type of trial, the truth
elements of trials and truth commissions.
The case of Argentina today suggests that some of its lawyers and
judges may have innovated yet again by producing judicial strategies for
declaring amnesty laws unconstitutional, thus permitting blocked
human rights trials to proceed. Other countries are beginning to follow
suit, as evidenced by efforts under way today in Chile and Uruguay to
find judicial strategies to evade amnesty laws.
This analysis has empirically documented Argentine innovations
rather than necessarily celebrating them. Living in a country at the
beginning of the justice cascade has not always been an easy experience for Argentines. The theme of the dictatorship continues to be a
hegemonic theme in the country today, absorbing both resources and
political energy. Other social movements have embraced the tactics of
the human rights movement, leading to what some observers consider
“an inflation of victimhood.” But the Argentine case shows the possibility that a country can move in three decades from being a major violator of human rights to a country whose citizens have made major innovations to the struggle in favor of human rights.
I wish to recognize the helpful comments I received from four anonymous
reviewers and LAPS editor William C. Smith. An earlier version of some of the
material presented here appeared in a co-authored article with Carrie Booth
Walling, and I thank her for permission to use material from that article, includ-
ing two tables she prepared with data from our database. I also received
extremely useful feedback from the “Nucleo de Memoria” at the Instituto de
Desarrollo Econ6mico y Social in Buenos Aires, and in particular from Elizabeth
Jelin, Patricia Valdez, Susana Kaufman, and Emilio Crenzel. In addition, I wish
to thank Catalina Smulovitz, Carlos Acufia, Leonardo Filippini, Enrique Peruzzotti, Ellen Lutz, and Naomi Roht-Arriaza for their invaluable suggestions and
1. To list just a brief sample of some important texts, see Acufia et a
Brysk 1994; Mignone 1991; Guest 1990; Acufia and Smulovitz 1997; Acu
2. In her 1994 book, Brysk discusses many of the early tactics cata
here and the international learning that has occurred as a result of the
tine experience, focusing on strategies and mechanisms for reform (16
3. For example, groups of the mothers of disappeared people e
Turkey, Algeria, Bosnia (mothers of the disappeared from the enclaves
brenica and Zepa), Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Lebanon, Mexico, Chechnya
Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines. Related groups include the Tian
Mothers (mothers of victims of the Beijing massacre) and the Mother
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
New York Disappeared (of people imprisoned due to the war on dru
as distant as the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons in
India, state that they were “inspired by the Mothers in Argentin
Together 2005). Some of groups have signed joint declarations and a
another’s meetings.
4. A search of the Internet journal archive JSTOR on the term tr
missions found 175 references using the term, but the first dates fr
is Priscilla Hayner’s classic article. One could argue that with this arti
helped to create the category of truth commissions, bringing togethe
that were previously seen as unconnected, such as Idi Amin’s 1974 C
of Inquiry and Argentina’s CONADEP. Hayner, in turn, cites earlier wo
earliest work in English on these topics dates to 1989, well after th
5. The CONADEP report has been a bestseller in Argentina, constantly in
print since it was issued in 1984. It was published in English as Nunca Mas: The
Report of the Argentine National Commission of the Disappeared (CONADEP
1986). For the definitive discussion of the CONADEP report, see Crenzel 2006.
6. See, for example, El Diario delJuicio, a weekly newspaper published
during the entire period of the trials of the juntas, with transcripts of testimony,
interviews, and legal and political analysis.
7. For a full explanation of the data, see Sikkink and Walling 2007.
8. For more information on the database, see Sikkink and Walling 2006,
9. Country trial years is defined as the number of years during which a
state is actively engaged in judicial proceedings for individual criminal responsibility for human rights abuse. This number does not reflect the number of trials
under way in that state during those years, which may be far greater. For a complete summary of the transitional human rights trial data base, see Sikkink and
Walling 2007.
10. Generally, Argentina’s Defensor del Pueblo de la Naci6n Argentina
(ombudsman), created by the Constitution of 1994, is considered Argentina’s
national human rights machinery, but the subsecretariat was an early effort to
institutionalize human rights in a government institution. On national human
rights machinery more generally, see Cirdenas 2001.
11. In 1976, Argentina had a literacy rate of 94 percent; in 1977, 29 percent
of young people aged 20-24 were enrolled in higher education, a percentage
higher than that of many of the countries in Western Europe at the time (World
Bank 1981). In 1980, 82 percent of the population lived in urban areas, and 45
percent lived in Buenos Aires.
12. See, e.g., the work of the Team for Psychological Assistance of the
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, collected in Edelman et al. 2005.
Abregu, Martin. 1999. Former Excutive Director, CELS. Author interview. Buenos
Aires, July.
Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo. 2001 Los niiios desaparecidos y la justicia: algunos
fallos y resoluciones, Vol. 2. Buenos Aires: Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo.
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Acuia, Carlos. 2006. Transitional Justice in Argent
Story? In Retribution and Reparation in the Tr
Jon Elster. New York: Cambridge University Pr
Acufia, Carlos, and Catalina Smulovitz. 1997.
Argentina: Some Lessons About the Risks and
Courts. In Transitional Justice and the Rule of
ed. A. James McAdams. Notre Dame: Universi
Acufia, Carlos, et. al. 1995. Juicio, castigo y memorias: derechos humanos y justicia en la politica argentina. Buenos Aires: Nueva Visi6n.
Alvarez, Sonia. 1990. Engendering Democracy in Brazil: Women’s Movements in
Transition Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
August, Ray. 1992. Mythical Kingdom of Lawyers: America Doesn’t Have 70% of
the Earth’s Lawyers. ABA Journal 78 (September): 72-74.
Bass, Gary. 2000. Stay the Hand of Vengeance. Princeton: Princeton University
Boss, Pauline. 1999. Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief
Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Brysk, Alison.1994. The Politics of Human Rights in Argentina: Protest, Change,
and Democratization. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Cirdenas, Sonia. 2001. Adaptive States: The Proliferation of National Human
Rights Institutions. Carr Center for Human Rights Policy Working Paper T01-04. Harvard University.
Cavallo, Gabriel. 2001. Resoluci6n del Juez Gabriel Cavallo, Juzgado Federal No.
4. March 6. Caso Poblete-Hlaczik.
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS). 2005. Informe Anual 2005.
Buenos Aires: CELS.
Cohen Salama, Mauricio. 1992. Tumbas anonimas: informe sobre la identifi
cacidn de restos de vfctimas de la represidn ilegal. Buenos Aires: Catilogo
Comisi6n Nacional sobre la Desaparici6n de Personas (CONADEP). 1984.
Nunca mds: informe de la Comision Nacional sobre la Desaparicion de Personas. Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaria.
S1986. English edition. Nunca Mas: The Report of the Argentine National
Commission of the Disappeared. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
Crenzel, Emilio Ariel. 2006. Genesis, usos y resignificaciones del Nunca Mds: La
memoria de las desapariciones en Argentina. Doctoral thesis, Faculty of
Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires.
Della Porta, Donatella, and Sidney Tarrow, eds. 2005. Transnational Protest and
Global Activism. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.
El Diario delJuicio (Buenos Aires). 1985. La sentencia. No. 29, December 11.
Edelman, Lucila, Diana Kordon, Dario Lagos, and Daniel Kersner, eds. 2005.
Efectos psicologicos y psicosociales de la represion politica y la impunidad.
Buenos Aires: Ediciones Madres de la Plaza de Mayo.
Equipo Argentino de Antropologia Forense (EAAF). 2007. History of EEAF and
Where We Work. Accessed 12/31/2007.
Fernandez, Silvia. 2002. Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Author interview.
Buenos Aires, December 11.
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Fernindez Meijide, Graciela. 1989. Human rights activist.
December 12. Quoted in Jelin 1995, 134.
Filippini, Leonardo. 2005. Truth Trials in Argentina. Unpub
Finnemore, Martha. 1996. Norms, Culture, and World Politics
ology’s Institutionalism. International Organization 50:
Finnemore, Martha, and Kathryn Sikkink. 1998. Internatio
and Political Change. International Organization 52:4 (A
-. 2001. Taking Stock: The Constructivist Research Progra
Relations and Comparative Politics. Annual Review of
Grupo de Iniciativa. 1988. La desaparicion forzada como crimen de lesa
humanidad: instrumentos juridicos internacionales para la prevencidn y
contra la impunidad. Presentation at the Coloquio de Buenos Aires, October 10-13.
Guembe, Maria Jos&. 2006. Economic Reparations for Grave Human Rights Vio-
lations: The Argentinean Experience. In The Handbook of Reparations, ed.
Pablo De Greiff. New York: Oxford University Press. 21-54.
Guest, Iain. 1990. Behind the Disappearances: Argentina’s Dirty War Against
Human Rights and the United Nations. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Hayner, Priscilla. 1994. Fifteen Truth Commissions-1974 to 1994: A Comp
tive Study. Human Rights Quarterly 16 (November): 597-655.
-. 2001. Unspeakable Truths: Facing the Challenge of Truth Commissi
New York: Routledge.
Hilbink, Elisabeth. 2007. Judges Beyond Politics in Democracy and Dictator
Lessons from Chile. New York: Cambridge University Press.
India Together. 2005. July 23. Acc
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). 1980. Report on th
uation of Human Rights in Argentina. Washington, DC: General Secretari
Organization of American States.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights. 2001. Sentence of March 14, 2001,
Barrios Altos (Chumbipuma Aguirre y otros us. Peru). Paragraph 41.
James, Daniel. 1988. Resistance and Integration. New York: Cambridge Un
sity Press.
Jelin, Elizabeth. 1995. La politica de la memoria, el movimiento de derechos
humanos y la construcci6n democritica en la Argentina. In Acufia et al.
1995. 101-46.
-. 2003. State Repression and the Labors of Memory. Minneapolis: University
of Minnesota Press.
S2004. The Family in Argentina: Modernity, Economic Crisis, and Politics.
In Handbook of World Families, ed. Bert Adams and Jan Trost. London:
Sage. 391-413.
Jelin, Elizabeth, and Susana Kaufman. 2000. Layers of Memories: Twenty Years
After in Argentina. In The Politics of War, Memory and Commemoration, ed.
T. G. Ashplant, Graham Dawson, and Michael Roper. London: Routledge.
Keck, Margaret E., and Kathryn Sikkink. 1998. Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Landi, Oscar, and Inds Gonzilez Bombal. 19
politica. In Acufia et. al. 1995. 147-92.
Lutz, Ellen, and Kathryn Sikkink. 2001. The Ju
Impact of Foreign Human Rights Trials in L
ofl International Law 2 (Spring): 1-34.
Mayorga, Rend Antonio. 1997. Democracy Dign
Bolivia’s Military Dictatorship on Trial. In Tr
of Law in New Democracies, ed. A. James M
sity of Notre Dame Press. 61-92.
McAdam, Douglas. 1996. Conceptual Origins, C
tions. In Comparative Perspectives on Social
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 23McCarthy, John, and Mayer Zald. 1977. Resour
ments: A Partial Theory. American Journal o
Mignone, Emilio F. 1991. Derechos humanos
Buenos Aires: Centro de Estudios Legales y S
La Nacion (Buenos Aires). 2006. Enrique Peruz
debido control: segOn el soci6logo, Kirchne
pero no del presente. September 9.
Navarro, Marysa. 1989. The Personal Is Politica
In Power and Popular Protest: Latin America
Eckstein. Berkeley: University of California
Novaro, Marcos, and Vicente Palermo. 2003. La
del golpe de estado a la restauracidn democr
Nye, Joseph S., Jr. 2004. Soft Power: The Means
York: Public Affairs.
Pdgina 12 (Buenos Aires). 2006. Entrevista a Leandro Despouy: es fundamental
no dejar que el miedo se instale. October 9, 8.
Paysse, Guillermo. 2006. Lawyer, Servicio Paz y Justicia Uruguay. Author interview. Montevideo, October 27.
Rios, Alcira. 2002. Legal Director, Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Author
interview. Buenos Aires, December.
Risse, Thomas, Stephen Ropp, and Kathryn Sikkink, eds. 1999. The Power of
Human Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ropp, Stephen, and Kathryn Sikkink. 1999. International Norms and Domestic
Politics in Chile and Guatemala. In Risse et al. 1999. 172-204.
Sikkink, Kathryn, and Carrie Walling. 2006. Argentina’s Contribution to Global
Trends in Transitional Justice. In Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First
Century: Beyond Truth us. Justice, ed. Naomi Roht-Arriaza and Javier
Mariezcurrena. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 301-24.
-. 2007. The Impact of Human Rights Trials in Latin America. Journal of
Peace Research 44, 4 (July): 427-45.
Simmons, Beth, Frank Dobbin, and Geoffrey Garret. 2006. Introduction: The International Diffusion of Liberalism. International Organization 60:4: 781-810.
Smulovitz, Catalina. 2002. The Discovery of Law: Political Consequences in the
Argentine Case. In Global Prescriptions: The Production, Exportation, and
Importation of a New Legal Orthodoxy, ed. Yves Dezalay and Bryant G.
Garth. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 249-75.
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
-. 2005. Petitioning and Creating Rights: Judicialization in Argenti
Judicialization of Politics in Latin America, ed. Rachel Sieder e
York: Palgrave Macmillan. 161-85.
Stepan, Alfred J. 1986. Paths Toward Redemocratization: Theoretical
parative Considerations. In Transitions from Authoritarian
Guillermo O’Donnell, Phillippe C. Schmitter, and Laurence Whiteh
timore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 64-84.
Tarrow, Sidney. 1998. Power in Movement: Social Movements and C
Politics, 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.
World Bank. 1981. World Development Report 1981. Washington,
World Health Organization (WHO). 2001. Atlas: Mental Health Resources in the
World. Accessed
This content downloaded from on Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:48:31 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms

Purchase answer to see full

error: Content is protected !!